A Dictionary of Modern English Usage

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This is a bibliography page, concerning a work to which reference is made elsewhere in this guide.

  • A Dictionary of Modern English Usage, H.W. Fowler, OUP 1926
  • 2nd edition, ed E. Gowers, OUP 1965
  • 3rd edition, The New Fowler's Modern English Usage, ed. R.W. Burchfield, OUP 1996, revised 1998 (896 pp).
  • An abbreviated Pocket Fowler's Modern English Usage, ed. Robert Allen, 2004 , OUP Oxford Paperback Reference (640 pp). This is now edited by Jeremy Butterfdield, and renamed Fowler’s Concise Dictionary of Modern English Usage.
    • on-line Fowler, "Pocket Fowler's Modern English Usage", ed. R. Allen, (1999), with a second edition in 2008. Oxford Reference Online. From <http://www.oxfordreference.com>.
    • Also on line: Fowler’s Concise Dictionary of Modern English Usage, the third edition of the above, renamed, ed. Jeremy Butterfield, 2016. From <http://www.oxfordreference.com>.

A Dictionary of Modern English Usage is a guide to English usage first published in 1926. It, and its many reprints and three subsequent editions, are often referred to simply as Fowler, or Fowler's. It followed an earlier book about correct English by H.W. Fowler and his younger brother, F.G. Fowler - The King's English (1906). The brothers were also the first compilers of the Concise Oxford Dictionary.

The original Fowler became a central reference text for those writing formal English for nearly half a century. It was then updated by a distinguished writer on language usage in the Civil Service, Sir Ernest Gowers, in 1965. He did not change very much. In 1996, a third edition was produced by the then editor of OED, Robert Burchfield. This has given rise to the Pocket Fowler's Modern English Usage, edited by Robert Allen, OUP 1999, now edited by Jeremy Butterfield, and renamed Fowler’s Concise Dictionary of Modern English Usage. Both are now on-line in the Oxford Reference Online website, maintained by Oxford University Press.